Syrian Chemical Weapons Destruction: Update 43

An interview with Swedish Diplomat and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, focused on the turbulent relations between Russia and the rest of world. However, in drawing a focus on the areas where cooperation has been successful, he stated that “the relations between the big powers, especially between Russia and the others are so bad at the moment that we should take care of the matters in which there is agreement. Syrian chemical weapons are one case.” Blix refers to the successful deal brokered by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry over a year ago agreeing to place Syrian chemical weapons under control. This deal was the antecedent to the successful destruction and neutralization of Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile, which we have witnessed. He concluded that within a conflicted international arena, there are success stories in the making and the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and its production facilities is certainly one of them.

Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria, Sigrid Kaag, commended Syrian government efforts on Friday. She stated that the Syrian government has been “constructively cooperating.” She also noted that the current facility destruction process is characterized by an “ongoing dialogue with technical experts on Syria’s initial declaration to the Convention [on the prohibition of chemical weapons] and [its] implementation.” At a United Nations Security Council briefing earlier in November, Kaag stated that the destruction of Syria’s remaining chemical weapons production facilities will begin this month, November, and should be completed next year, 2015.